Doctoral studies


The Department of Art, through Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture, offers an international doctoral programme for those interested in conducting research on art and other forms of visual culture, and their practices and education. Doctoral studies through the Department of Art is internationally recognized and situated within the matrix of global art and art education research practices. Studies include contemporary philosophy, philosophy of science, research methods, critical theory, academic writing, aesthetics, and studies in the specified area of the individual research project. Research areas and methods in the Department of Art are broad and complex. They include, but are not limited to, arts-based research and artistic practice; place, community, and environmental art research; and visual culture and critical social research.

  • Arts-based research and artistic practice offers a critical space for the construction and presentation of new knowledge and new skills, about and through art, that would be otherwise marginalized with respect to more traditional and accepted modes of scientific research and practice. It employs the systematic use of artistic processes and practices, including production and interventions, in different manifestations. Arts-based research and artistic practice in part interrogates and helps understand the experience of the researchers themselves or other subjects.


  • Place, community, and environmental-based art research strives to embody collaborative practices among artists, teachers, communities, and audiences, resisting the dichotomies of human/culture verses environment/nature, and underscores the interrelationships among all things, living and non-living. This research builds on exposure, deconstruction, and rejection of modernism’s constructs and myths of “art” and “audience,” while emphasizing a sense of place within daily actions and developing a consciousness of self, local, and larger communities.


  • Visual culture and critical social research often manifests in profoundly analytical and self-reflexive practice that in part deals with social responsibility and cultural change. Research into visual culture might range from investigations of visual images and technologies that profoundly affect understanding, to the hermeneutics of visualizing and visuality. Research may focus on visual art pedagogy and relationships between newly emerging images, technologies, cultural experiences, new materialism and post-human theories.


Students are admitted twice a year to the Doctoral studies programme after an examination of their research plans. Students interested in applying through the Department of Art must contact a professor in the Department and work with him/her to develop a research plan with a strategic focus. For more information on the process and applying see


More info:

Kirsti Niemensivu
Project secretary

Page content by: | Last updated: 15.12.2014.